Mast Brothers Brooklyn Chocolate Tour

There are few things more fun then spending an evening learning and tasting chocolate with friends after a long day at work.

mast brothers maple

Almost a year ago, I discovered the brand while perusing the chocolate section at our local grocery store and since then have visited their Williamsburg location two times. Previously our small chocolate stash was primarily Swiss chocolate, heavily influenced from our time living there, but over the past few months more and more Mast Brothers chocolate has found its way into our house.  Therefore, when Gilt City invited Heather, Diana, Alanna, Christine and I for private tour at Mast Brothers Chocolate factory and show room in Brooklyn, I was elated!

Mast brothers bloggers

mast brothers behind the scenes

This behind-the-scenes tour which took place at their original, Williamsburg location provided us with a better understanding of not only how they make their chocolate but also how it is different than other chocolate brands.  During the tour we learned a great deal ranging from the details behind the process to the history of the brand.

mast brothers

  • The company was started by two brothers, Rick and Michael, one a chef and the other a business man.
  • They sold their first bars (17 to be exact) on their first day at Brooklyn based Artists & Flea
  • They now have three locations: Williamsburg, LA and London.
  • They pride themselves on including no more than 6 ingredients in any bar.
  • Cacoa nibs are made of half cocoa solids and half cocoa butter.
  • The nib portion boast many health benefits due to the fact that each serving contains flavanoids, antioxidants, 9 grams of fiber, magnesium, and potassium!
  • They have a base line of popular chocolate flavors but also introduce seasonal collections each year.
  • They do their best to source the ingredients for the chocolate from local or small farms and business partners such as Stumptown Coffee for the coffee that goes in their coffee bar.
  • Their recent collection is an herb collection, of which lavender is their most popular!
  • My personal favorite flavors are sea salt, goat milk, and lavendar in the perfectly portioned small 1.0 oz size bars.

If you want to enjoy your own tour of the factory, check out the great deal Gilt City is offering through tomorrow which includes a $20 credit to spend on chocolate! It saves you more than 50% and would make a great date night or weekend activity with friends or out-of-town guests!

Interested to try Gilt City? One lucky reader will win a $50 Gilt gift card! 

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Gilt City covered the cost of this tour but we were not compensated and all opinions, as always, are my own. 

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I Miss My Running Endurance and A Giveaway

ash run

Happy Monday!

If you follow me on Snapchat (@healthyhappier) you already know that this morning Bo and I laced up our shoes for our first morning run together in ages. It’s easy to forget how simple running is in comparison to other workouts. Just ten minutes after the alarm went off we were running through the neighborhood. Since we were only running for 30 minutes, we just had to change clothes, lace up our shoes, chug some water and push start on the stop watch.  The simplicity of this, in comparison to our morning workouts in the city, left us smiling and relaxed. We immediately decided that starting out the week with a morning run is the best way to kick off a healthy week and transition from the weekend to a busy work week. The F train has driven us crazy the past few weeks, running a reduced schedule during peak times, which has changed the morning commute for workouts from 20 minutes to almost 45 most mornings.

Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t breaking up with cross training or ClassPass anytime soon. But, due to a few upcoming races and healthy bodies, we are going to spend more time hitting the pavement. This morning’s run made us both realize just how much training we have ahead of us in order to be race ready.  The run wasn’t easy but we still loved the time together and the fact that we faced the harsh reality that we’ve both lost our endurance and Summer training will be tough.

6.6.16 run

Our route this morning was a flat and shady 3.5 mile route which took us through Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens before ending in Gowanus.  Our average pace was around 9:45, which felt more like sub 8-minute miles.  Even though I ran two half marathons and a ten miler this Spring, it has been a while since I consistently trained for a race. Now that we’re both healthy – I’m excited to focus on running.  Our goal is to run three times per week – speed, long and tempo. This week is a base-building week which will include two four mile runs an done 6 mile run.  Due to weekends in Vermont and down in Avalon, New Jersey there aren’t many races during the Summer that work with our schedule but here is our tentative race schedule. We are using a few of the NYRR Open Run 5k as speed work and diagnostic runs. In addition to these, we will be doing long runs each weekend to build our endurance.

In addition to running, we will each continue using ClassPass (<–link to save you $) for cross training, taking 10 classes per month using the new NYC Core Plan.

To celebrate my return to running, I have teamed up with Timex to give one lucky reader a Timex Ironman Colors watch of their choice!  I’ve been using the Timex Sleek 150 and Sleek 50 models this Spring and love the fun colors, large buttons and easy to use features.

timex pic

To enter, leave a comment with your favorite running song or which color Timex Watch you’d choose.  I will pick one winner (US only) at 11:59 Tuesday, June 7th. GIVEAWAY CLOSED – WINNER CHOSEN 

 

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Larabars Real Food Giveaway

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I know guys, things are going a bit crazy on the blog. Two giveaways within two days? But, I couldn’t keep this one from you guys as Larabar is one of the blog’s OG (OG = original gangster, for anyone currently wondering what that means.). In 2008 and 2009 I featured giveaways from them on the site!  This giveaway and partnership is especially important to me as Larabar is partnering with bloggers to fight hunger, a cause that affects 1 in 7 Americans! 

I feel as if there is a new bar launching each week. Whether I see them in the stores while shopping or while scrolling through my Instagram feed, it is hard to keep track. Regardless your preference – Paleo, low calorie, meal replacement, vegan, nut-free – there is a bar out there. I’ve found myself ordering bars on Amazon only to end up with eleven lonely bars in the box since I could barely finish the first bar.  Some of these bars taste so artificial and processed, I can’t imagine how my body could ever digest it let alone benefit from it. These days, eating real food is a goal of mine and something I think about when choosing bars.

Therefore, when packing for our ski trip, I found myself packing my favorite standby, Larabar. Without many of the unnecessary additives, like chocolate, there is no worry that the bar will melt in your pocket for a day on the slopes. The wholesome, filling and healthy bar is a perfect snack to fuel me through skiing. Each bar, regardless it’s flavor, is a blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. There are no hidden ingredients. In fact, most of their nutrition labels feature between just two and nine easy to pronounce ingredients. Don’t believe me? Wait until you check out their website and see that they actually encourage and show people how to make their own Larabars!
laraba

Since Lara Merriken, the company’s founder, established Larabar in 2000 with the goal of making real, wholesome food accessible to everyone, it only makes sense that they are teaming up with Feeding America, to help battle hunger across America. Their #ShareRealFood campaign encourages people to donate to food banks, volunteer and get involved with local organizations that help combat hunger. In fact, they are donating $150,000 to help fight hunger in America! Through the New York Junior League and Procter & Gamble, I have had the opportunity to work in NYC soup kitchens and stocking local food pantries with supplies. Trust me, they can never have enough volunteers or supplies!

The next time you’re at the grocery store or placing an online grocery order, consider adding just a few extra non-persishable, healthy food items, like Larabars, to your basket so you can donate them to your local shelter or food pantry to help feed those in need. If you do, make sure you share a picture on social media to encourage others to do the same thing and tag @larabar!

 

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This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Larabar.

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